All Over August!

I can’t quite believe August has been and gone .. but then having the children around and everything kinda whizzes by, normally with a bit of a kerfuffle.  It’s not been a bad month all in all,  far better than the weather – which quite frankly if that was it for summer I’m more than disappointed.

There have been a few things last month that have kept me going and made me smile….


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Fortunately for us, we started August brilliantly with a fabulous family holiday in the south of France (see my previous  post TOTALLY ROCK(ley)ED IT! ).  It was a hellishly long journey via car and ferry – but totally worth it to have a week of sunshine, sailing, good food and good company.  Sadly as the tan fades, it seem’s forever ago that we were sunning ourselves in Azur… a distant memory – but a very good one!



I first bought this big box of mini Tic Tac packets when Jules and I did Ibiza last year and they went down so well with the kids that I bought another box on the ferry on the way back from France.  They’re perfect for handbags and pockets and the kids love that I’ve usually got some hidden about my person.  If all hell breaks loose, their tasty cuteness normally bribes them out of their mischief!  (Believe me when I say on occasion bribery and corruption is the only way forwards).



I’m not sure we’d have survived the hols without this spreadable delight.  The kids love it and it’s their ‘go to’ snack of choice.  The Nutella Flipover is infamous in our house.


Rushing around theWhite Rose shopping centre on a rare outing with my daughter last week we found ourselves in Primark.  I’ve only ever nipped in a couple of times before and I’ll be honest I hadn’t really realised what all the fuss was about.  Anyway, on this occasion, something in the window display took Scarlett’s eye and she dragged me inside.   We had a good browse and I can only summise that it’s a lot like Ikea, in that you nip in for one thing and end up with a veritable amount of bargains – none of which you particularly needed!  I bought quite a few things to try and I’ve been particularly impressed by the PS range.  I particularly like the Oil Balancing Facial Wash and the Minty Breath Freshener (which I find saves me from the nibbles above all else).  The packaging isn’t unattractive either and sits nicely here in the bathroom with my long term friend Molton Brown.  (Sorry the photo’s a bit blurry – my camera’s playing up).





I‘ve heard of Carol being described as Marmite , but personally I’ve always rather liked the ballsy, gutsy one from Loose Women .  Always upfront and ever controversial – I applaud her for speaking her mind.  Carol disappeared off the radar for some time after being diagnosed with Grade 3 Breast Cancer.  At 55 years she’s back, sporting a very fetching elfin haircut and having stared cancer in the face, now one breast lighter – but with positivity and from the other side.  There’s a lovely article in Closer Magazine this month welcoming Carol’s return to the public eye, documenting her journey and encouraging everyone to live for the moment. Wise words, Carol.


IMG_9697 (2)So, they’re all back.

It’s frightening how quickly they’re growing up and becoming more  independent.  I have photographs from the return to school in previous years and, indeed, it seems like only yesterday that each of them was starting on this educational journey.  Cripes – it makes me feel SO old!

The house is unnaturally  quiet – and it’s strange to be able to hear myself think and it’s high time I became productive again..  but after 7+ weeks of bedlam I’m EXHAUSTED.  I’m  really not achieving much,… yet there’s so much to do.  I’m spending too much time procrastinating and despairing at my ‘To Do’ list,  if I’m perfectly honest, … but sooner or later I will be spurred into action and there will be no stopping me.  I do miss the madness – but both prior to and after the school day it’s more manic than ever.  It’s a military procedure getting the troops up ready and off in a morning. God love ’em!  

Now, I don’t want to speak too soon – but my peace lily is suddenly looking rather perky too!  Funny dat!


I’m hoping that, like our lily, both a good routine and my untapped energy source will emerge in the coming weeks! I can’t wait for my ‘can do’ attitude to kick in! WTS…



After a couple of more challenging reads I needed an easier more frivolous one, some less taxing escapism – so I’ve just read Jump by Jilly Cooper.  I haven’t read anything by her in a while and it wasn’t as smutty as I remember them.  Enjoyable though and I raced through it – enjoying the horsey theme and the extreme characters.


I’ve spent a lot of time sat around in the car lately .. watching rugby training, hockey, cricket and the likes, so, when I haven’t been reading I’ve been knitting.  I’m still finding it really therapeutic.  I decided it wasn’t too soon to attempt a hat and Scarlett was the lucky recipient.  Not too shabby for a first attempt!




Arch & Tets sleeping

My brave soldier hasn’t had the easiest of summers and has a massive operation looming – which I’ve been desperately waiting for (there’s nothing quite so heartbreaking as seeing your child suffer), but, as much as I know he needs the op,  I’m dreading it too.  Ironically, I happened across a competition online just the other day in association with Love MyDog and to win the beautifully illustrated book ‘Archie Loves Skipping’ and a designer dog collar.  The children are constantly nagging me for a new dog (we miss Tetley so very much and it’s left a massive space in our lives) and ‘pug sitting’ for a friend recently has only highlighted this, but I know that we just have to wait.  We know we can’t take on another furry family member until we know that Archie is through the worst and on the mend.  I’m thinking this competition was made for us, it’s more than a coincidence, (albeit I can only wish that Archie could skip!)… I just love reading to Archie, he loves the interaction, and this would be  a nice book to add to the collection.  Please vote here for him   Thanks 🙂


So it’s onwards and Upwards through September for us all I hope – and here’s wishing for lots of luck to see Archie through to the other side.


Mr Sandman … BRING ME A DREAM!!

My husband is killing me. Torturing me in fact. IMG_8645 (2) I was very fortunate (or so I thought) that, when I was younger, I could survive on next to no sleep.  A couple of hours and I could recharge to ‘fresh as a daisy.’  Back then sleep was for the weak when there was a whole day to be had!  Believe it or not I actually thrived on it (or the lack of it). My parents didn’t agree with ‘wasting days’ and were advocates of ‘early rising.’  As a teenager I didn’t wallow in my pit like most.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t allowed to, or even particularly encouraged against it – but I guess my parents’ behaviour was ingrained.  ‘Throughers’ weren’t unheard of and 4 to 5 hours was the norm.Save for the odd early night I too would be up making the most of my day whilst the majority of my peers preferred doing the whole ‘teenage’ thing and would surface after noon.  I got SO much done, exercise, school work, reading, chores – leaving far more time for the good stuff; socialising, dancing, drinking and boys! IMG_8058 (2) During the uni years I’d visit friends and after a full-on ‘sesh,’ I would still be up with the lark.  Even a hangover wouldn’t hamper me, in fact back then they were a rarity, despite my ability to ‘sink it’ with the best of ’em.  I’d get up and do ridiculous things; early morning yoga sessions, writing letters to people (as we used pen and paper back then) or more commonly transforming whoever’s residence I’d stayed in  into order and infinite tidiness.  Yes, believe it or not, back then I was verging on OCD, at least where tidiness and order were concerned. Then I had children.  My children.  With the appearance of my first born came a whole load of sleepless nights and a whole load of worry.  So, even when dog tired beyond comprehension, sleep wasn’t easily achieved.  I’d lie awake willing sleep and worrying for worries sake.  During those early years, many weeks/months were spent in and out of hospital (it became our second home) and, anyone who has had the misfortune will I’m sure concur, sleep in hospital, especially on a children’s ward, really isn’t an option.  Sleep when your baby sleeps they all told me (it even said it in parenting books) … Pete, S-J & Archie 181003 (2)   but when my baby was sleeping I was checking him at regular intervals to see that he was still breathing and/or wasn’t having a seizure.  It perhaps eased a little as time passed, became more of a shared responsibility and some of our more major worries were dissipated and then …. IMG_8652 … Along came numbers 2 and 3 – the lively little blighters.  As number 1 settled into a routine nothing changed a great deal, as their nocturnal activities left a lot to be desired.  I’m not entirely sure WHAT they survived on, back then, still aren’t as it happens, but I have deduced that  it certainly isn’t sleep.  I’m not sure that they ever did the whole ‘afternoon nap’ thing – but I was generally blessed with a few hours solid during the night (from both of them although not necessarily together) – when I could tend to No 1 or 2 or 3, catch up with chores, or just lay dormant and listen to the otherwise sleeping world.  Yes, Nos 1 and 2 appear to be powered by Duracell and their on/off switches are hidden beyond discovery. Ironically, I married a snorer.  An unsociable one at that.  A night owl – who needs 8 hours, who is grumpy if disturbed of his rationing and whose body-clock is not to be toyed with.  Yet, as business predicts, often up and off with the lark he’d surface at unreasonable hours and wake the household – and with No1’s irregular sleeping patterns as they are – chances were the nights he was away I’d be up with him anyway, So here I am, nearing my twilight years, despairing of my lack of ‘Beauty Sleep’ (says a lot) and my nights are plagued by both Mr Snore and his 10 million decibel army and my early rising first born. Sleeping under the eaves with an ear open to the world I’m entertained by the nocturnal goings on around the neighbourhood.  The revelling of the younger community, the shift workers and the local wildlife. Like many, we’ve just enjoyed/endured a 7-week long summer holiday and whilst most families have languished a little on those lie-ins – which I dare say I’ve indulged in on occasion merely to play catch up!  Did I mention that my husband is of the snoring fraternity? Speaking of Mr Snore we/I really have tried almost everything to cure his  – I’ve bought him snore strips and snore rings, pillow mists and sleep-inducing bathing balms – but to no avail.  My wits end on this subject has been pretty much reached – but I am most definitely open to suggestion.  There may even be a prize for saving my tortured soul. IMG_8965

I bought myself many a book to while away those misspent hours.  With so much ‘awake’ time is it any wonder that I devour books – literally in my sleep! Recently I came to acquire a rather intriguing, cult and quirky little book.  This particular book by the fabulously witty and design-driven American store Knock Knock 

is a joyous thing.  in part, chiding my consciousness, but it gives meaning to the same with humour, urging my resourcefulness and contemplation.  This tiny tome sits at my bedside in an attractive manner – just waiting for me to indulge it further.

Night time, I find, is a great time for writing.  Two author friends of mine, the not so late, but very great AJ Taft of multi-novel fame  and the very lovely Mr James Nash author, poet and my mentor if you will, who both urged me to start writing on rising.  Even just a few nonsensical scribbles to start my day.  There IS indeed method in their madness and whilst some of my most incomprehensible and illegible claptrap is often written during my enforced insomnia – I’ve also benefited from a few golden nuggets too. Oh and as the return to school routine looms ever nearer and I find myself this very morning  indulging in one of my very last ‘catch up’ sessions, my husband’s alarm goes at 5.30 am. (We have a triathlete in our midst).   His alarm being the one that he only responds to when I awaken him in respond to it!! Where he excels at the art of snoring – he fails epically at rising undetected.  He doesn’t do stealth.  Where quiet is concerned and we have a little pug staying with us … so by the time he’s done his ablutions and got himself ready to leave, I lay there contemplating an hours unadulterated sleep.  Unlike me Nos 2 and 3 are in fact  sleeping undisturbed, No 1 is in respite and therefore is out of the equation … but no, as I dare to shut my eyes and wish for Mr Sandman did I mention we have another baby in our household at present … meet Mr Edgar Pug. IMG_9319

An otherwise wonderfully trained and  beautiful sleeper who has settled into his boarding house rather splendidly, once roused at 6.00 am believed it’s now time for his day to start – cue the snuffling, the barking, the scratching!  A perfect time for me to give in.  Choose life over sleep and productivity over recharging. A perfect time for ….blogging – about SLEEP!   sleep-25528_640